Teaching


Time goes by so quickly. Horrifying.
So how have I been, how is my thesis?
Well, the thesis. I actually did work on it, and I have a stack of books that I need to read. That I should have read years ago. Anyway. I am not doing as much progress as I would love to, but tiny little steps. The books are all in my apartment and I will return to My City tomorrow and being able to work with them concentrated.
On the weekend The Husband and I worked on the workshop that we are giving in about two weeks, and although it is about what I teach usually I still need some time to organize well-rounded presentations. The audience is different from my average students, and I want to tailor it according to them (which is difficult if you do not know them).
Besides that I am working on the page proofs of that little chapterlet that I finished last fall (/irony on yes, the editor is very happy about the speed of that publishing house /irony off) and of one of the compendium article that I finished last year as well. For the second one they told me to delete all footnotes. Great. I liked my footnotes. For that little chapter I am waiting for feedback on shifting around a section.

Teaching is going well. Last week before class I asked one student to be aware of the thin line between being a critical mind or a destructive one (and he smiled and nodded and said that he knew what I was referring to and promised improvement), and coincidentally during that session the class always disagreed with what he said. Good class 🙂

My biggest accomplishment, however, is the fact that I told my boss that I will not join her on our annual conference. I simply lack the energy, but that is not a valid excuse for her. But that is the truth – I simply lack the energy.

Otherwise I have a new cell phone (with a digital camera! And an MP3-player!) because my old one broke, my apartment in My City has new water and waste pipes (my bathroom still needs the tile-job getting done), and we had elections for the European parliament. I am still hesitant how much to reveal about myself, and writing about national politics would reveal a bit. On the other hand I guess it is pretty obvious by now where I am from. But I will save the election for another post. Now I will turn to my beloved thesis.

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I am back home in Our City. Last night I was just so exhausted that I went to bed quite early and felt asleep immediately. The last two days were not easy but a little emotional roller coaster ride.

Apparently the second doctor forgot (?) to include something in the records he had to send to the first one, and I have to wait again. But now it is for sure that I have to consult another doctor, and the earliest appointment I could arrange was the middle of July. WTF?
The first one, however, handed me a copy of the operation note that the second one had denied to hand out to me some while back. So I spent the evening laying on my bed in My City, drinking booze I had received as a birthday present, reading the note, and weeping a bit in self-pity. It feels so strange to read something written about you in a third-person-narrative.

Earlier that evening I had called a friend of mine and for the first time in all the years that we know each other cried in front of her. Well, apparently not in a physical front as she was on the phone, and maybe that had made it easier for me to just let go. I told her about my unhappiness with the work situation and my feeling of not getting the desired recognition and attention of my advisor. Of course my friend suggested to talk with her, which I probably will, but we both know that she will probably just not understand how hurtful her behavior sometimes is – she and I are different breeds and have very different communication styles. In fact I have sometimes pointed out that comment XYZ made by her bothered me to which she always replies “But you know it is just a joke.” These jokes, however, aren’t funny. They bother me. And whereas my colleague seems to get along with these kinds of jokes and just replies with similar sound bites, that is just not my style and I feel like the party pooper.
And I know that when my contract ends in a couple of months, it will be like out of sight out of mind, no matter how much I engage myself now.

Teaching was fun but tiring. I have a Mister-know-it-all in my class. He is balancing on the thin line of being a critical mind or a nonconstructive smartass.

So I have the blues today, and instead of working on my thesis or my paper I went grocery shopping, did the laundry, cleaned the bedroom, kitchen and corridor, and cooked lunch.

Maybe later I will be in the mood of revising the thesis chapter a bit.

Taught. Tired. Drove back to Our City.

Thesis – nothing

Paper – nothing

I had my first class section yesterday which was really nice and which gave me good insight about how to structure the whole semester.

Now back to my thesis which I will devot the whole weekend to.

Nothing. Just preparing teaching.

The workshop in Small City Abroad was such a nice event.
I had been invited to give a talk, and I felt so honored just to get invited. The day before my departure I had to teach my class and finally handed in the second compendium article which was such a relief. So besides my thesis there are no skeletons in my closet, at least right now. (If only…)

I spent the evening preparing the talk and the slides, just halted by meeting My Best Friend and his parents at a nice little vegetarian restaurant. A break I definitely needed, besides the fact that there was no food in my apartment –  I just had arrived that day, was planning to leave the next morning to Small City Abroad, and would return to Our City. As usual before a flight I did not sleep very much, prepared my talk, packed my stuff.

The flight itself was alright, not as bouncy as I had expected although it was windy. I took a cab to the hotel, went through my notes again and took a long nice nap. In the evening I met two faculty members who took my out to dinner. It was a really nice evening and I enjoyed the conversation a lot.

The talk took place the next day, altogether there were four presentations dealing with similar topics. My talk was supposed to illustrate the situation in my country; and the audience was nice and raised questions. The presented projects were interesting, and I wished we had more time for discussion but the time flew by so quickly.

After lunch the workshop was over, and I went back to the hotel, dropped off my bags and went into town. Eleven years ago, when long-time-ago boyfriend and I had toured this country for two weeks, we had been in Small City Abroad, but I was not really able to remember it. At one corner I suddenly had a déjá-vu but who knows if my brain just not played a trick on me.

I went to a bookstore where I spent hours, unable to decide which books not to buy. Finally I reduced my hunt to five, and returned back to the hotel, completely happy. I spent the evening on the bed, drinking a beer, and reading the newly purchased Elisabeth George (“Careless in Red”) until midnight. I love it. A year ago I had read  “What Came Before He Shot Her” which was good as well, but each page I more or less unconsciously waited for Lynley and Havers to appear. Anyway, by now I am done with the book and as usually I did not immediately knew who the murderer was, that’s why I love her crime novels.

The next day I spent strolling around the streets, and finally made it to the cinema where I watched “W”, together with some hot chocolate and something equivalent to a lemon meringue pie.

I left the next morning really early, arriving in My City, taking the train to Our City, exhausted and happy. It was a wonderful trip, and I am grateful for the invitation and the additional free time which I used to recharge my inner batteries. And hopefully the exchange will continue, maybe leading into a project. Lets see.

Now November is almost over. My class is a nice and small one, but a lot of them are lazy and do not get their stuff done in time.

Today would have been my grandmother’s birthday. Can’t believe that already 1 1/2 years have passed since she passed away.

When I came back from My City Thursday late at night, I was looking forward to twelve days of delving into my thesis again. The meeting with PD and BD was alright. They gave useful feedback on my first chapter. My goal is to finish this and the second chapter until the end of April. Both explain the background of my thesis project. After they are written I can focus on the crucial chapter (aka _my_ contribution/suggestion to the academic discourse) which needs lost of reading and thinking before I can even consider writing it nor setting up my empirical study. (I should have written chapter one and two years ago. What have I done with my time?)

Thursday had been very productive: I met with twelve of my students to discuss their final papers and grades. After I told three of them (who had worked on a group project two semesters ago) that their project was missing a precise question and a clear structure, they started a little nasty argument while sitting in my office (Your fault. No, your fault). Two of them were not on speaking terms anymore when they came to my office hour. I waived it off, wondering if I been promoted to teach Kindergarden classes.

Anyway, Friday I felt nauseatic and could not concentrate at all. I fall asleep early evening.

Ok, but now I am sitting at my desk, looking forward to read, think, and write!

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